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Do You Ever Wonder What Makes Us Different?


Fonkey
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I know Christians who are far smarter than I, I know Christians who are far more educated than I. I know Christians who have struggled with doubt and depression, I know Christians who have found the idea of hell hard to deal with. I know Christians who value logic and reason, I know Christians who have been spiritually abused by others in the name of Christianity. I know Christians who have learned about evolution and biblical criticism. I know Christians who deny the existence of a spiritual soul, I know Christians who accept that humans share ancestors with monkeys (and snails), and I know Christians who admit to contradictions in the Bible.

 

And yet, despite all these, they still remain Christians. How am I different from them, that I came to reject what I previously believed? What leads a person to make that kind of conclusion? When you were a Christian, how were you different from the others in the flock? What factors do you think pushed you to make your decision? What causes someone to abandon Christianity?

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I think it's a foundational thing. Some people don't have a mental foundation that "faith-only" religion can stand on. For example, I was a victim of intolerance in school; I came to resent intolerance, and so found no solace in the arms of an agressively intolerant god. For other people, personal experiences may push them away from church, make them question things. Example: one of my friends in church would NEVER leave the faith. Why not? Because he has no reason to. He thinks himself saved. He makes a living by preaching. His wife is also religious. He has nothing to gain and everything to lose by forsaking Christianity; and I don't mean heaven/hell, I mean he'd lose earthly things. So he's a fundamentalist who thinks evolution means we came from monkeys and that Israel can do no wrong. Some people are pushed to the point that they feel they have nothing to lose by questioning religion.

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What makes us different?

 

In my opinion, a strong sense of personal honesty is what sets us apart from The True Believers™.

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...For example, I was a victim of intolerance in school; I came to resent intolerance, and so found no solace in the arms of an agressively intolerant god. For other people, personal experiences may push them away from church, make them question things... Some people are pushed to the point that they feel they have nothing to lose by questioning religion.

 

This is very much me. I went to a xtian school in the mid 80's, when the satanic scare was at its height. I am a musician, and I was really into heavy metal and some of the glam rock like Gun's N' Roses, Metallica, etc. Everyday was a lecture of how evil this music was, and how just listening to it will send me to hell. I believed some of it, for instance I stayed away from listening to Ozzy or Alice Cooper, but what really got me thinking and questioning things (at first) was that I also listened to xtain metal like Stryper, Whitecross, Believer, Bloodgood, etc. and even these bands were satanic. I tried, but could never wrap my head around how a style of music could send you to hell.

 

The funny thing is that years after I left the church, my mom, in an effort to bring me back excitedly told me one day that the church was going to have a praise/worship band at the 11:30 service, and that they needed musicians. It was going to be a rock band, playing xtian rock music, for the younger crowd.

 

"But mom, those very same people from that very church told me everyday that rock is satanic and will send me to hell for just listening to it! I thought god never changed his mind? What is different now that he allows rock music? Could it be that most people my age have left because of the insanity, and they realized that if you can't beat them, then join em'?"

 

She never mentioned it again.

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were you different from the others in the flock?

 

I think Fwee stole my thunder and nailed it as he usually does.

 

I've mentioned this story before, but I think it's apt.

 

When I was about 20 I was out street witnessing with the Baptist nuts I was the part of. We met a 16 yo kid who was into Taoism who agreed to go to Denny's with us to discuss relgion. Growing up in Boise Idaho, I was fairly naive and he was the first person I'd ever met who directly disputed the bible and who brought up its contraditions and atrocities. I was dumbfounded listening to him.

 

Meanwhile, my Baptist counterparts argued with him and then when they had no argument, threw back at him the verse "god's word shall not return void" as they resorted to random scripture quoting as their defense mechanism against this young man's logic.

 

I suddenly found myself coming to this young man's defense. He poked some holes in my beliefs, and while I at that time still believed my beliefs were superior to his, was forced to make a commitment to myself to learn exactly what and why I believed what I did.

 

The difference between me and my friends was I needed to know the truth, even if it was painful, and my friends just needed to be right.

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I think there are a number of factors. There was a personality test a while back that someone posted to a thread, and it turned out that a lot of us are introverts. Not all, but a lot. I don't think that's a coincidence. Christianity seems like it was more designed for extroverts.

 

Also, a lot of us were inquisitive as children and very curious. The church in general tends to discourage curiousity and imagination, but those things are a natural part of a child's development.

 

In addition, I think a great deal of it is how we were treated by Christians when we were Christians. I was never fully accepted by them, no matter how hard I tried to be like them. That isn't why I stopped believing, yet if I had been fully accepted, I don't know if I would have questioned it in the first place.

 

A strong sense of justice and courage to speak up. Most of us have come to realize how unjust a lot of Biblical teachings really are. Christians may have also realized this, but they stick their heads in the sand and pretend it's all okay. I can't do that. If something is not right, I can't just sit by and ignore it because it's not happening to me. I have to at least *say* something. I think that Christians, at least most of them, are far better at keeping their mouths shut out of fear.

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A number of valid points have already been made. In my case, I needed to know the truth, however difficult it might be for me. And there were things about the bible I found out and personal experiences I went through, which made it absolutely impossible for me to support the christian faith any more.

 

I believe if people took the bible literally, there would be far less christians. The Old Testament is pretty fucked up in a lot of places, the New Testament presents ridiculous rules like saying that remarriage after divorce constitutes adultery (which of course most Christians ignore, and virtually all non-christians would say is pretty fucking stupid), and that it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church (which Christians cover by saying that that verse was only meant for those times or it is taken out of context). In that case, how many other bible verses were only meant for the times they were written? As for bible verses being taken "out of context", don't get me started... The bible is degrading towards women, but most christian women pretend this not to be so. I don't care how wonderful Jesus may seem, I refuse to follow a religion with those kinds of viewpoints.

Of course most christians don't read their bible often and probably don't consider it that important. To them all that matters is that Jesus loves him and they're going to heaven.

 

It almost makes me angry that people can stay christians, even after asking questions. I can only conclude that they don't look into the deeper issues of christianity, maybe because they're scared. I don't understand it all :shrug:

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I left Christianity because I was weak and not because I was strong. My brain is very obsessive and the slightest disturbance to ordered functioning throws me off

 

So, when you take my handicapped brain and input the doctrine of divine vengeance, then I start to experience sadness and despair. While I was still a Christian, I would morbidly ruminate on how sinful everything I did was. I would also churn through the Bible's explanation of Christ's death as this brutal atoning blood sacrifice in my place.

 

It was as if my brain was thoroughly contaminated by cognitive "malware." If I were healthier and stronger, the Christian theology would not make me nauseated, hopeless and suicidal. As it is, leaving Christianity was the only option for me apart from heavy sedation or lobotomization.

 

I wish I were strong enough to be a Christian, and to be able to set aside the hell belief in order to work, play, and live. But I am not that psychologically resilient.

 

I wish I were able to remain a Christian -- that way, my parents would be happy with me, I would be able to remain in the community I had grown up in, I would be able to date cute Christian girls, etc., etc., etc.

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Having to deal personally with christianity's hostility to homosexuality shook me up enough intellectually to think through the entire mess of religion.

 

I have always been thankful for being born "that way." Sex is a great motivator, for sure. :wicked:

 

But an underlying characteristic I would say is that it takes guts to break out of a cult. Most of us here at ex-c are pretty ballsy folks, I'd say. :Medal:

 

Believe me, being branded a faggot apostate wasn't always a breeze...

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I know Christians who are far smarter than I, I know Christians who are far more educated than I. I know Christians who have struggled with doubt and depression, I know Christians who have found the idea of hell hard to deal with. I know Christians who value logic and reason, I know Christians who have been spiritually abused by others in the name of Christianity. I know Christians who have learned about evolution and biblical criticism. I know Christians who deny the existence of a spiritual soul, I know Christians who accept that humans share ancestors with monkeys (and snails), and I know Christians who admit to contradictions in the Bible.

 

And yet, despite all these, they still remain Christians. How am I different from them, that I came to reject what I previously believed? What leads a person to make that kind of conclusion? When you were a Christian, how were you different from the others in the flock? What factors do you think pushed you to make your decision? What causes someone to abandon Christianity?

 

I'm just not good at fitting in with "flocks" of any sort. I never really fit into Christianity, and the main factors that pushed me over was that I wasn't getting anything "nice" out of it. I realized I wasn't swallowing most of it. I kept trying to read the Bible and it kept turning me off. I'd read about more and more atrocities being perpetrated in the name of Christianity. All the facts were right there in front of my face and I finally decided I needed to find something else.

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What makes us different?

 

In my opinion, a strong sense of personal honesty is what sets us apart from The True Believers™.

 

Ramen :)

 

For years, I felt like I was lying to myself when I made myself accept certain Xian teachings that I knew were reprehensible.

 

It took me years of studying Xian apologetics, letting curiosity lead me to study alternate beliefs, giving the anti-Xian side a chance and hearing them out, and several personal upheavals to finally get me to kick Jebus to the curb.

 

Sometimes, it takes a long time for one to be honest with oneself. Took me 27 years.

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Being a christian I believed I had the truth, no need to search for it. Then one day something I read challenged me to question what I had been taught. The simple question I asked myself started my journey out of christianity... "How do I know that what I've been taught about christianity is true”?

 

I believe the difference between me and lets say my christian husband or friends is summed up simply by this quote.

It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.

--Epictetus

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Lots of good replies here.

 

This topic got me thinking about my wife and I. She is at least as intelligent as me, possibly more so. When we decided to start attending church in 1998, it was me who said "If we're going to do this it has to be all or nothing. No "lukewarm" for us. It was also me who delved so deep into "seeking God and the truth" who, after months of erudition, gave up on any kind of god belief.

 

She knows my current position, and I've related most of what I've learned (bible inconsistencies, atrocities, mythological origins, etc.) and yet she's still a believer. I don't think that she's afraid to let it go, rather I think she's for some reason unable to let it go. I have no idea why this could be.

 

I just can't understand why she can't see the truth about xianity the way I have. It's so f*cking obvious to anyone who honestly seeks to find the truth. Is she lacking personal honesty, as Fwee suggested? Could be, but still I can't understand how this is possible from such an intelligent, rational person.

 

Sorry, I'm rambling. Maybe I'll start my own topic.

 

Fonkey, it seems I'm just as confounded as you. :Doh:

 

Dan

 

PS Chef, I put in the asterisk just for you :HaHa:

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Good thread...

It makes me remember the olde days, I use to wonder what happened to make believers "backslide" and loose the faith. I remember worrying about it at the time, thinking if it could happen to them what would make me different could this happen to me to? YUP.. I don't know maybe that we are just not content to believe everything at face value that makes us different from those who continue on in the beliefs of christianity.

 

I personally have never been good at taking orders, and blindly accepting everything... ok I did kind of begruddingly accept certain things. I have always had to be true to myself, and if I wasn't I was misreable.

 

I finally just had enough, of being told that certain things are sins that I disagreed on, and if I was going to keep following the christian faith, I either needed to accept it whole heartily and embrace all the teachings or I needed to admit that I did not believe. I could not convince myself that I could believe everything anything... I had never believed ALL of what was expected of me to follow.

 

For a while I really felt torn, because I thought I could do so much more for the kingdom of heaven and do outreach and ministry and spirtual healing... but how could I do that if I lived some of my life oppossing what scripture/christian docterine and values taught.. after all too if I wanted to get involved in ministy I knew that I would be held to a higher level of accountabililtly as well. So after much sitting on the fence and not attending church regulary.. I gave up trying to believe. I gave up being sad that I was spirtualy where I should be, and gave up arguing how I could be a christian and believe what I did.

 

Maybe we are just not as good at lying to ourselves or maybe we are just more independent and stubborn.

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For me it was because for the first time in my life I didn't want to be a "lukewarm" Christian anymore (like others have said). I am not sure what it was but I just felt like it was time to "get right" with god. So, in my quest to get to know god better to be as close to whatever he wanted me to be as I could, I found that the harder I looked for him in the Bible, the less of him I could actually find. And once I looked outside of the Bible, the picture got even bleaker. For the first time in my life it occured to me that god might not actually exist at all. Of course I saw lots of problems with this initially, but the more I read and researched and talked to others, the more I saw that it was a real possibility that what I was taught to believe as a kid and carried with me to adulthood might really be nothing more than total bunk. And that's where it ended, and now here I am :)

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I think one has to condition one's self if they are deep into a religion, to accept where the answers take them, in order for any hard realities about god to set in. The truth of religion's bogusness represents a reality that needs never be faced, because without that conditioning, it never really becomes as obvious as it is to us.

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Maybe we just asked one too many times - "God - are you really there?"

 

Or maybe we weren't as good at fooling ourselves into thinking he answered - "yes".

 

Bottom line - it goes back to what Fwee said. We are too honest to remain christians.

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Lots of good replies in this thread.

 

For me, I was always on the rebelious side. If something didn't sound right to me, then I would not just accept it. I am sorta the all or nothing type....if I don't buy some of it...then I'm probably not going to be able to buy it all either. Too many issues were contradictory and I didn't want to worship a god that had such evil nasty traits.

 

I am also stubborn and wanted answers. I dug nonstop for answers for a long time. I do have a great ability to be honest with myself even if I don't like the results.

 

The ironic part is that christians always told me I had this great gift of discernment. Yep, I discerned all right...discerned myself right out of their whole religion.

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The ironic part is that christians always told me I had this great gift of discernment. Yep, I discerned all right...discerned myself right out of their whole religion.

 

Heh - I got that, too. Wonder what they think of my "gift" now? :HaHa:

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The ironic part is that christians always told me I had this great gift of discernment. Yep, I discerned all right...discerned myself right out of their whole religion.

 

Heh - I got that, too. Wonder what they think of my "gift" now? :HaHa:

 

 

:HaHa: same thing they think of mine, LOL :HaHa:

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Maybe we just asked one too many times - "God - are you really there?"

 

Or maybe we weren't as good at fooling ourselves into thinking he answered - "yes".

 

Bottom line - it goes back to what Fwee said. We are too honest to remain christians.

 

You know, I think you're onto something. I've been told that I am honest to a fault. And if you can't be honest with yourself, who can you be honest with?

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I know Christians who are far smarter than I, I know Christians who are far more educated than I. I know Christians who have struggled with doubt and depression, I know Christians who have found the idea of hell hard to deal with. I know Christians who value logic and reason, I know Christians who have been spiritually abused by others in the name of Christianity. I know Christians who have learned about evolution and biblical criticism. I know Christians who deny the existence of a spiritual soul, I know Christians who accept that humans share ancestors with monkeys (and snails), and I know Christians who admit to contradictions in the Bible.

 

And yet, despite all these, they still remain Christians. How am I different from them, that I came to reject what I previously believed? What leads a person to make that kind of conclusion? When you were a Christian, how were you different from the others in the flock? What factors do you think pushed you to make your decision? What causes someone to abandon Christianity?

 

 

i think they were mainly biological factors for me. i grew up in the same social environment as my siblings, and yet, they remain christians. i had trouble with christianity from a fairly young age, and i couldn't stop working things around in my head. i believe my siblings will remain christian to the day they die. i think partly, of it is out of fear, so they don't question things enough to escape from them.

 

Maybe we just asked one too many times - "God - are you really there?"

 

Or maybe we weren't as good at fooling ourselves into thinking he answered - "yes".

 

Bottom line - it goes back to what Fwee said. We are too honest to remain christians.

 

slightly off topic, but i remember one day, realizing that god had never really spoken to me in that "little voice." i realized that i had been making it up all along.

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The ironic part is that christians always told me I had this great gift of discernment. Yep, I discerned all right...discerned myself right out of their whole religion.

Heh - I got that, too. Wonder what they think of my "gift" now? :HaHa:

:HaHa: same thing they think of mine, LOL :HaHa:
Satan gave the two of you your gift. God had nothing to do with it. :mellow:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

:lmao:

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Satan gave the two of you your gift. God had nothing to do with it. :mellow:

:lmao:

 

:Duivel7:demon.gif:fdevil:

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Not only were we not afraid to ask questions (curiosity hadn't been discouraged)...

 

We were ultimately not afraid of the answers. Fear of the answers leads to self-induced guilt for daring to question, and most skitter back to the comfortable warm padded lie.

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